In 1802 Granet went to Rome to study at the French Academy, housed in the Villa Medici. Like a number of students, he had a studio in the convent of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti church next-door. This experience may have been the inspiration for this painting.
Granet's precision of execution and atmospheric portrayal of light add to the ethereal effect and the sense of order and serenity. However, the calm and ordered nature of the scene is in strong contrast to the actual convent environment in which Granet would have been working. As a church with a predominantly French congregation, French troops had been stationed in the convent after Rome's surrender to the French revolutionary army in 1798. With the influx of artists as well, by 1810 the building was in a state of neglect and disrepair. The restoration of the church and convent was undertaken at the expense of Louis XVIII after Napoleon's fall from power in 1815.
Where to see this painting?
The Bowes Museum
Barnard Castle, County Durham, England, DL12 8NP
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.
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